Right Guitar Chicken Picking Techniques

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Chicken picking is a popular technique in country and bluegrass music, known for its quick, staccato-style strumming. This technique can be challenging to master, but with practice and the right guitar, you can achieve that classic chicken pickin’ sound. In this blog post, we’ll explore the right guitar and equipment you need to get started with chicken picking, as well as some tips and techniques to help you improve your skills.

The Right Guitar for Chicken Picking

When it comes to chicken picking, the type of guitar you use can make a big difference. A solid-body electric guitar, such as a Telecaster or Stratocaster, is a popular choice for this technique. These guitars have a bright, twangy sound that is well-suited for country and bluegrass music. Additionally, their solid bodies help to reduce feedback, which can be a problem when using a hollow-body guitar for chicken picking.

Action and Strings

In addition to the type of guitar, the action and strings you use can also affect your chicken picking ability. A lower action, which is the distance between the strings and the fretboard, can make it easier to play quick, intricate patterns. As for strings, many chicken pickers prefer medium-gauge strings, as they provide a good balance between tone and playability.

The Right Equipment for Chicken Picking

Beyond the guitar, there are a few other pieces of equipment that can help you achieve the classic chicken pickin’ sound. A compressor pedal can help to even out the volume of your playing, while a country-style pickup can add that characteristic twang. Additionally, a good amplifier is essential for achieving the right tone. A tube amplifier is a popular choice for chicken pickers, as it provides a warm, rich sound.


When it comes to chicken picking, technique is key. The basic idea is to use your pick to pluck the strings, then use your fingers to silence them, creating a staccato-style sound. This can be challenging at first, but with practice, you can develop a smooth, consistent technique. One tip is to practice using a metronome, as this can help you to develop a consistent rhythm.

Exercises for Chicken Picking

To improve your chicken picking skills, it’s important to practice regularly. Here are a few exercises that can help you to develop your technique:

  • Start by practicing simple, single-note runs. This will help you to develop your finger dexterity and accuracy.
  • Next, try practicing some simple chord progressions using chicken picking. This will help you to develop your rhythm and timing.
  • Once you’re comfortable with the basics, try incorporating some more advanced techniques, such as hammer-ons and pull-offs, into your playing.

Looking to master the art of chicken picking on your guitar? Check out our articles on country guitar hybrid picking, hybrid picking in country guitar playing, and chicken picking in country songs for tips and techniques. Avoid these common mistakes when practicing chicken picking and explore the best picks for alt-country guitar to enhance your playing skills!


Chicken picking is a challenging but rewarding technique that can add a unique sound to your playing. By choosing the right guitar and equipment, practicing regularly, and incorporating exercises into your routine, you can develop the skills you need to master this technique. So grab your guitar, crank up the amplifier, and get pickin’!

About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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